Catching up

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I can’t believe how fast this year is going. We are already a week away from midterms. The Barrett-Jackson car show, the Phoenix Open, and the Arabian Horse Show have come and gone. It’s getting ready to be spring, and we’ve only just had our first rain of the year. Probably one of the more perfect times in our corner of the desert, and what people fall in love with when they come for a visit. Especially with the kind of winter everyone has been suffering through this year! Polar vortex indeed.

Chicago, I love you. But I’m so glad I’m not there right now.

It makes me glad to be here, but at the same time the snowbirds glory in our 80¬į February, what they don’t realize is that even for us, it’s unseasonably warm – and dry. It harkens to a tough year ahead for fire season, drought, habitat loss, and stress on wildlife. Not to mention a scorching May – September. I’m trying not to think of that now, and just revel in the glory of living someplace snow-and-windchill free.

salt margaritas

I feel a blog re-vamp coming on (again), so look for some changes coming up. While I have loved using WordPress.org, and having the customization freedom it offers, I am frustrated by the fact that when I read through some of my posts, half the time the pictures don’t show up (WTF?). And the whole hosting situation is a pain in the rear. So I’m looking to move the whole operation over to another web hosting site, hopefully with lots of improvements.

I’m taking Austin Kleon‘s advice from STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST, and stealing ideas for how to make this site better. Austin sends out occasional newsletters with a quick update on his projects, along with links to interesting things he’s found on the internet recently. Alex Yeske from Dreams + Jeans blogs beautiful pictures and product recommendations. I really like how both of these bloggers give a succinct post, paired with images, and suggestions from around the web, and hope to implement their best practices here.¬†

I’d also like to make to make this site better for YOU, my readers.¬†Any comments? Suggestions on improvements? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

Here are some recent photos:

My work wall before a re-do
my new workspace, ready for inspiration
a typography sketch
this is from my life drawing class.
I draw naked people.
one of the best things about Arizona: sunsets.
my chickens decided to lay their eggs in the compost pile.
more typography practice
another sunset :)
juniper, our new puppy, likes to hang out with Keira while she eats.
wax barbie molds I’m working on for a sculpture project.
me, posing in sculpture class – trying to figure out how to pose Barbie for my sculpture. Suffering for your art means sometimes exposing your true dorkiness.
barbie parts, a tree, and a desk…hmmm, what will it be? Stay tuned.
My #1 Monkey, winning a soccer game. Love the color combo.
I told him his Polish was showing :)
My #2 Monkey, hogging my spot. That’s ok. No matter how big they get, I still like to watch them sleep.
a birthday present for my sister-in-law. I’ve been really inspired by a uk artist found here: http://lexwilson.co.uk/
My first non-school exhibition
pretty mama Chroicoragh ‚ô°
A reader came to visit. She’d never seen Gypsy Horses in person, and we had a great time playing with the girls. Thanks, Jordan!

 

Thanks

So, I’m sure you’ve noticed a huge gap in posts. I mean, of course you have, because you’re a regular reader and you love my wit, and you can’t WAIT until you see a new post from me!

Kind of like how I am with The Hermitage, Dreams + Jeans, and Fine Art Tips.

A lot has been going on. I have been taking 17 credit hours this semester, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve worked so hard and been so happy in that work. I’m telling you right now: If you’ve been in a slump, or maybe want to advance in your career but lack of a degree is holding you back;¬†GO TO SCHOOL, even if it’s just one class at a time.

journey

There’s nothing that will revive you more than feeding your brain. It’s the perfect time in the economy, too. Things are starting to bounce back, but it’s slow going and business is still slow enough that if you wanted to, you could squeeze in a morning or evening class. Some of them are scheduled to only meet once a week, if that’s all you can commit. There are loads of scholarships available, and enrollment is down, so they WANT you to go to school.

But assuming you can afford one class per semester – maybe two – what would you take? What has always piqued your interest? Ancient Egypt? Art History 101- Prehistoric to the Gothic, or World History to 1500.

king tut

What have you always wondered more about? How to really use Excel, so you can go up a paygrade at work? CIS 105 or Excel Level I.

Or, have you always wondered why rocks look like this? Take Geology 101! I liked it so much I took 102 as well.

sandstone

Why don’t you do something for¬†you? You’ve always wanted to try painting. Remember how much you loved watching¬†Bob Ross? I recommend taking Color Theory first. It’s been a challenge, but a good one!

Think about it.

Besides school, we’ve had a few birthdays

IMG_5997

IMG_6667 - Version 2

and lost our two best friends :(

Butter (aka Best Dog in the World) was 13, and Pepper (2nd Best Dog in the World) was 12. They passed away within a month of each other.

butter and pepper

Our new girl, Juniper, was a birthday surprise, and missed meeting Pepper by two days, but kept Butter company for the last month. She’s adorable, and smart, and keeps us all on our toes.

Juniper

The horses have gotten hairy. They got a post-Halloween treat.

horses eating pumpkin

Keira is still for sale. It’s strange, I think she must be waiting for the perfect home. I’ve had several people interested in her, and a few offers, but they all fell through for various reasons. All she needs is time and attention. She’s super smart and sweet, and responds well to training (see video on her page). I’m so surprised she hasn’t sold yet, because she’s pretty close to perfect. But that’s just my opinion ;)

keira

I gave my first class lecture

lecture ARH101

and we’ve had some rain.

IMG_7123
my Land Art installation, titled “Direction”

Coming up, I’ve got a post on a popular author, a round-up of my projects for the semester, an out-of-town writing conference (so exciting!), and after Christmas, I get to go visit my family. Please continue to keep my sister-in-law and our parents in your thoughts. This is our first holiday without John, and he is greatly missed.

john & chris

Here and now, it’s holiday time in the desert, cool and crisp in the morning, sunny in the afternoon.

I’m thankful for it all – my family, our health & home, the opportunities we have.

And to you, for taking the time to visit.

smiley face, rocks

Much love,

Heidi

If you’d like to do more online browsing, please stop by my friends’ sites:

Pb Crazy

r. mccormack writes

taysteele.com

strategicbongo

TracyJoyCreative

Foggy morning, December

We finally had a good soaking rain. It has been over 3 months since we had any precipitation, and the whole place – the house, the yard, the whole city for that matter, had been covered in layers of dry gritty dust. There was a lifeless pallor over everything, keeping the color and vitality of the desert hidden from view.

While everyone in the rest of the country gets hammered by storms, here’s us:

Not that I’m asking for a hurricane (my heart goes out to everyone affected by Sandy), but a few drops here and there would be nice. Below is a lovely photo of what we Phoenicians call “the brown cloud,” caused by ozone: “Ozone is an invisible gas created when other pollutants in the air – such as those created by combustion- are heated by the sun.” Just another day for us:

And then I’m sure this doesn’t help the dust situation – summer dust storms known as Haboobs. (Yes that really is what they are called, and yes, they really do look this big and freaky)

So when we hear we are getting rain after almost 4 months, we kinda freak out. All the weather people have their sleeves rolled up, the maps are flashing all over the place, and weather is the LEAD STORY.

before the storm

What is just an average storm in any other part of the country is an event for us. I mean, it didn’t just rain…it rained for two whole days!!¬†

I loved it.

Sat in my jammies drinking coffee all Saturday morning, then actually got my rain jacket out of the closet (yes, it had DUST on it!), and went out Christmas shopping.

In the rain!

It was kind of exciting. Everyone had jackets and/or hats, and some even had this fancy type of nylon water shield that they would hold over head. You see them a lot in British shows.

But the cool this was, everyone was in a good mood. And mellow. No grumpiness, obnoxious yapping or complaining…just cool, you know? The rainy day vibe.

The horses loved it, too. They stood out there, just soaking it in, and getting good and muddy.

And then I woke up Sunday morning, to

FOG.

um…mom?
isn’t it time for breakfast?
over there. see? the hay?
look at those ear tips. she might be a vulcan.
talk about my ears, will you? hmph.
(there’s a foreshortening exercise for you art students)
no, seriously, where’s breakfast?
see? I told you! breakfast time!
umm nom nom nom….
mud? what mud? I don’t know what you’re talking about…nom nom nom
of course these two have to see what’s going on
what did you find, Butter?
her ears don’t work so well anymore, but her nose is juuust fine… :)

then I almost tripped over this…when you have boys, this is the kind of thing you find in your yard
and when you kneel down to take a picture of a baseball, your labs take the opportunity to climb all over you.

Let’s see what else we can find around the ol’ place…

I’m trying hard to keep my own fresh herbs

the lemons are getting more lemony. they look like limes until they begin to ripen.
this eucalyptus tree has to be over 50 years old. it’s HUGE.
looking up

ah, the challenges of living with taxidermy
this is what happens to the street in front of our house after two days of rain
this lady doesn’t want to splash her fancy schmancy car.
wuss.
the fog is already starting to burn off. I knew it wouldn’t last long.
but it’s nice while it lasted
back inside…
back to the blog, and baking christmas cookies.

Thanks for hanging out with me on my foggy desert morning! I hope you are enjoying some crisp fresh air, wherever you are.

Desert Rain – a picture post

We have FINALLY gotten some much needed rain down here in the desert. It is making for some very humid don’t-even-bother-straightening-your-hair days, but things have cooled off ever so slightly and the dust has been kept to a minimum.

There is a certain smell that springs from newly damp desert ground, but I suppose it smells just as good as any other place when long overdue rains arrive. I actually put it into the first chapter of my book. Here’s a peek:

The western sky was the kind of blue that comes after a cleansing summer rain, and the breeze still smelled of damp sage and pine. Leather reins lay slack in her fingers, resting on the saddlehorn in front of her. Closing her eyes, Ruby breathed in the beautiful day.

You’ll have to wait to read more, but I’ll try to pop in a few tidbits here and there. Until then, enjoy some recent photos of the girls (click images to enlarge):

Keira kicking up some dust before the storm

Eden the rescue kitty stops by
Is there anything happier than a Lab? Pepper will be 11 this year.
Vincas. These are the only flowers that survive the summer‚ÄĒat my house, anyway.

I thought this was a cool shot, also indicative of horse behavior. When you are standing by one horse, the other one has to come over to see what they are missing.
pretty girls.
Eden monitors my morning’s progress.
rain collected in Butter’s food dish, reflecting the sky.

For some more AMAZING Arizona photography, check out this local photographer’s page.

Thanks for reading,

Heidi

Wish Book of Gypsy Horses for Sale

You know, I usually refuse to think of myself as getting old, but the changes that have taken place in the world over the years remind me that – well, according to my kids and technology – I’m old.

One such example is the Sears Wish Book. If you grew up in the 1970’s, you probably received a Sears Wish Book every year. And by the time your parents took you¬†to see Santa, that catalog had been¬†flipped through,¬†dog-eared and well worn. You’d gotten a chance to study each and every item in the TOYS section, crossed out the most unnecessary, put stars next to the ultimate must-haves, and had your list ready to go.

“Hey Barbie, get away from my horse. And give me that hat while you’re at it.”

So what do younger kids browse through nowadays? (Nowadays. What a dumb word. I might as well carry a cane and start saying “whippersnapper”) Anyways, what is it – Amazon? Best Buy? Ebay? Etsy?

This whole idea of the Wish Book came to me while I was browsing the internet recently, looking at Рwhat else Рhorses.

Schleich Toys Tinker Mare

Now, I am not a huge breeder by any means but as a part of the Gypsy Horse community, ¬†I do like to keep in touch with other breeders and owners and see who’s doing what with their horses. Stallions get bought and sold and go to new barns, and it’s interesting to see which mares get bred to which stallions, and the foals they produce. There are also plenty of mature horses for sale that are broke to ride or drive and ready to go.

(This collection is my idea alone, and these folks won’t even know I’ve featured their horse until after this is written. I am receiving nothing from this except the pleasure of spreading the word.¬†If you are interested in any of these horses, please contact the owner. Keep in mind this is a very small selection of the many horses available for sale.)

So, let’s take a look at a few, shall we? (read all the way to the end for a surprise)

Gypsy Horse Wish Book!
Dugan, 2007 Black Blagdon stallion.
What a cutie! I am such a sucker for theblagdons, and I love a white face on a horse!
Contact Cheryl Lang
New Hampshire
If you visit her site, make sure to click on Maddie’s page, where you can read a great story about a girl and her horse! I’m thinking of hiring Maddie to come & train my girls … :)
***
Desert Jewel Parker, 2007 Black mare with 2011 chestnut colt
Parker is a very nice black mare. Her sire is Desert Jewel’s Lenny’s Horse, the same sire as Keira and Fina. I’m a huge Lenny fan, and it’s because he produces such beautiful, well-mannered stock.
Desert Jewel is where I purchased Chroicoragh and Siofra, and they have always treated us well.
Super nice people.
Contact Jennifer Gilson
Arizona
***
SD Whistler, 2009 Blue Roan Colt
A great example of Roan! Isn’t he pretty?
His owner, Sherri, operates the American Gypsy Horses website, and does a fabulous job of keeping track of everyone, maintaining the sales pages and making videos.
Contact Sherri Barnes
Texas
***
Silver Express, 2010 Black Silver Dapple colt
Very nice colt with unusual coloring, due to the desirable silver gene.
Out of a gorgeous stallion, Silver Bullet.
June Villa has gathered an impressive collection of stallions, including Romeo, Dalcassian and Taskin:
Contact June Villa
***
THE BEST OF THE UK & IRELAND
***
Clononeen Lyric, 2004 Piebald Mare
When I see this mare, all I can think of is that song where the guy says
“Damn, girl!”
Sorry for the language, but look at her! Absolutely stunning.
Clononeen horses are always beautiful, and very well bred.
Chroicoragh is named for her dam, Clononeen Chroicoragh –¬†you can still see¬†Chroi’s baby pics on their site! :)
I’ve always loved their horses.
Contact Brian or Deirdre Cash
***
Platinum, 2005 Dapple Grey Stallion
Oh, Platinum, if only…
*sigh*
I am so in love with this horse. If anyone buys him and brings him to the states,
let me know just so I can come & see him in person.
I will bring carrots.
xoxo
Seriously though, The Vines family horses are some of the best of the breed.
Contact Michael Vines
***
Bella, 2011 black blagdon filly
Holy cow, you could dollop some frosting on her,
put a cherry on top and call her Cupcake!
Is she the cutest little thing or what?
From the Coates Family, who bred Siofra.
They own another of my fave stallions, Oliver.
Contact Albert or Amy Coates
***
Josy Mare’s Filly, 2009 Black & White filly
Feminine filly with nice coloring – notice the two black ears poking out of the white mane. From the Downs family’s famous stallion, SD Chief.
Another British family with an impressive breeding program.
Many more horses available, U.S. location as well.
Contact the Downs Family
***
Price Family Mare & 2009 foal
The Price family, located in Wales, has been home to some of the most renown
stallions the breed has offered.
Contact the Price family
***
This has been an extremely conservative list but for me to cover all of the horses and breeders out there I’d need another week of browsing…not that that’s something I wouldn’t enjoy, but my laundry is piling up, and the boys are looking at me with those poor hungry faces.
Lord knows they’d die if they ever had to feed themselves.
So if the above links weren’t enough for you, here are a few more to check out:
Another UK breeder, who owned the famous Tumbler stallion
before he came to the US:
An amazing page of Gypsy Horse links from Blue Moon Gypsies:
For Shires and Drums contact Kim Oest:
Fina, 2011 Blue & White filly
Fina has found her forever home! Congrats to her new family.
Keira, 2009 Dapple Grey Filly
still available! Free breeding included. See her page for more info.
Keira Sept 2012
If you are interested in having your own little fairy tale, contact me.
 Many more Gypsy Horse resources on my Links page, and check out my new Stallion Showcase post.
Happy horse shopping!

Horse Drawn Wagons via Traveller Dave

I’m currently working on a drool-worthy, eye-candy Fantasy pick of Gypsy Horses from all over. Until that’s ready, I thought I’d share a site I found recently. These are photos of horse drawn wagons¬†from a collection by Traveller Dave.

When asked for permission to use his photos, Dave ended his reply with this:

For those who live in houses, it’s a romantic lifestyle…but day to day reality is very different & using modern roads amongst thousands of intolerant stupid car drivers is always a risk !!

cheers

dave

Thanks Dave. Keep on truckin’ :)

Please visit Dave’s site for loads more pics.¬†Links at bottom of post.

Traveller Homes:
Horsedrawn wagons page:
Traveller Dave:
Normally I would have more organic links, and links from each picture to its url of origin, but Blogger is giving me some trouble. Hey, Blogger? You ever hear the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?
It wasn’t broken. Stop trying to fix it! Argh.
xo,
Heidi